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Did you know that dads play a critical role in their children’s literacy development? Studies show that boys are more likely to read when they see their fathers reading recreationally, and boys whose fathers read aloud to them score higher in reading achievement. Reading together is great father-son bonding time. To celebrate Father’s Day (or any day), grab one of these sweet reads and cozy up with your mini-you. And if you’re a mom reading this list, these titles make great Dad’s Day gifts!
Tough Guys (Have Feelings Too) by Keith Negley
Keith Negley is an illustrator turned children’s book author. Not surprisingly, the pictures in this book say so much more than the text. Use them to start a conversation with your son, and help disrupt conventional ideas about masculinity.
Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie and Yuyi Morales
This is a book about that fine line between being yourself and following in the footsteps of your parents. It’s especially perfect for a child who needs to grow into his name or who feels the weight of being a Junior. Budlong and Ashman were delighted at the alternate names the narrator suggests for himself, and Morales’ illustrations are stunning.
I Wonder: Celebrating Daddies Doin’ Work by Doyin Richards
This book celebrates the many ways fathers play a role in their children’s lives—cuddling, styling hair, rough-housing, potty-training, etc. Beautiful photos catch fathers of all colors and ethnicities in action.
Mighty Dads by Joan Holub and James Dean
Father and son construction vehicles work alongside each other in this book. My boys like the rhyme, repetition, and cute kid names like little Vator, Dozy, Grady, and Hoe-Hoe. Scholastic offers free printable Mighty Dads activities so your child can create a father’s day card, complete a maze, or do a matching exercise after reading.
Building with Dad by Carol Nevius and Bill Thomson
Can you tell my boys are into building? Dad takes his son along to a construction site in this book with rhyming text and amazing illustrations. The ant’s eye view makes you feel like you’re right there with them. If you like the style of this author/illustrator team, check out Karate Hour and Baseball Hour next.
Dad’s Bald Head by Paul Many and Kevin O’Malley
Budlong and Ashman can definitely relate to the dad in this book who decides to shave off what little hair he has left on his head. While it takes some getting used to, the son realizes being bald doesn’t change who his dad is or how much he loves him.
My Dad Thinks He’s Funny by Katrina Germein and Tom Jellett
Even if you have your own set of eye-roll inducing dad jokes, you’re bound to pick up a few more in this book. And when I say, “Dad, I don’t want to,” he says, “Okay, then…Do you want three?”
Just the Two of Us by Will Smith and Kadir Nelson
This book pairs the lyrics to Will Smith’s 1997 song with gorgeous pictures from one of my favorite illustrators. Nothing like exposing your kids to the “golden oldies”…sigh.
Daddy, Papa, and Me by Lesléa Newman and Carol Thompson
This is a sweet book about a boy lucky enough to have two dads to play with him. While I’m a huge fan of the true story of two male penguin fathers, And Tango Makes Three, it’s refreshing to find a book that shows the variations of human families.
My Dad Used to Be so Cool by Keith Negley
Oh Keith Negley, I used to be so cool too, and now I write a mom blog. Parents will completely relate to how this dad’s pre-child life is almost unrecognizable after his son comes along. But would we want it any other way?